US Open, 🇺🇸🍎🗽🚕 R3 Preview + Prediction
(1) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs (27) 🇨🇳 Shuai Zhang
World number 1 Karolina Pliskova survived a scare in the second round at Flushing Meadows, Pliskova was forced to came from a set down to defeat Nicole Gibbs and set up a third round clash with China’s Shuai Zhang. Pliskova will be happy to see Shuai Zhang in the third round, Pliskova holds a perfect 4-0 head-to-head record over Zhang and easily accounted for Zhang 6-2 6-0 in their most recent match in Doha earlier this year. Pliskova will be hoping for an improved performance on Saturday and another straightforward win over Zhang as she continues her quest to claim a maiden Grand Slam title and go one step better than her runner-up appearance in New York last year.
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Connecticut Open, 🇺🇸🏫 New Haven preview + prediction
R2: (Q) 🇵🇱 Magda Linette vs 🇨🇳 Shuai Zhang
Shuai Zhang caused the biggest upset of the opening round when she eliminated 3-time former champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets. Zhang claimed a surprisingly easy 6-2 6-1 win over Petra Kvitova on Monday night and will look to bring momentum from that big win into her second round clash with Magda Linette on Wednesday. In more good news for Zhang, she holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Linette heading into this second round clash at the Connecticut Open.
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Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌴🐬 R2 Match Preview
(30) 🇨🇳 Shuai Zhang vs 🇮🇹 Sara Errani
Sara Errani is finally starting to gain some momentum in 2017. The Italian has plummeted down the rankings to outside the top 100 in recent times as she has struggled to find top form after some injury troubles. The last couple of weeks have been a bit more impressive for Errani, the former top 5 player has won a couple of tight matches in recent times including a hard-fought first round win in Miami over Belinda Bencic to set up a second round clash with the 30th seeded Shuai Zhang.
Continue reading Shuai Zhang vs Sara Errani, Miami R2 Preview
Australian Open R3: Varvara Lepchenko vs (Q) Shuai Zhang
Shuai Zhang has been the biggest giant-killer at this year’s Australian Open. The Chinese qualifier has advanced to the third round courtesy of two stunning upsets over Simona Halep and Alize Cornet. Zhang’s Australian Open campaign continues on Saturday night when she takes on the experienced American Varvara Lepchenko in a third round clash.
Varvara Lepchenko has made a reasonable start to the season, showing good form in Brisbane where she reached the quarter-finals and is now into the third round at Melbourne Park for the second year in a row. Lepchenko advanced through to the third round courtesy of a three set victory over Lesia Tsurenko and a straight set victory over Lara Arruabarrena. Lepchenko now has a wonderful chance to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career when she comes up against a Chinese qualifier on Saturday night.
This has been the best week of Shuai Zhang’s career. Prior to this week the Zhang had a 0-14 record in Grand Slam main draws, she has certainly exceeded all expectations this week to come through qualifying and reach the third round. Zhang started the week by producing the biggest upset of the tournament thus far with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Simona Halep before backing up that victory impressively well to upset Alize Cornet 6-3 6-3. It must be said that Cornet played very poorly in that match.
Lepchenko won the only previous encounter between the pair, 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory in Eastbourne back in 2014. I suspect Lepchenko will again be too good for Zhang and finally end her miracle run in Melbourne. This will be a very different match for Zhang, she will not be allowed to dictate play like she was in her first two matches this week, I highly doubt she is going to be able to produce another upset here. Lepchenko is very experienced and will see this as a massive opportunity, I doubt she will waste it.
Prediction: Varvara Lepchenko to defeat Shuai Zhang in 2 sets
The first match on Court Philippe Chatrier in 2014 features Polish world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska. I’m pleased to see the organizers haven’t shoved her on a lesser court as they often do in Melbourne and New York. Her opponent, Chinese number 2 Shuai Zhang who is fresh off a strong run in Rome.
Zhang had impressive victories over more fancied opponents Petra Kvitova and Christina McHale before falling to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
Radwanska arrives in Paris having played quite well in the lead up tournaments, reaching the quarterfinals in Rome and Stuttgart as well as a semi final appearance in Madrid. The draw has been relatively kind to Aga; to me she has a very good chance to progress to the semifinal stage for her first time at Roland Garros.
Aga will come into this match as the warm favourite. These two have met on one previous occasion, with the Pole taking the match in straight sets. Aga usually rolls through these matches and I can’t see Zhang troubling her too much, she just doesn’t have the weapons to do that.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Shuai Zhang 6-2 6-2